owl and the sparrow, a fairytale
stephane gauger’s owl and the sparrow (CÚ VÀ CHIM SE Sẻ) takes you to a weeklong stop at modern saigon. the journey is like a melodramatic fairytale that lulls you to sleep while it tells you the story of love forged among total strangers.
three wandering souls rule the story.
the first one is the 10 years old girl named thuy (pham thi han) who runs away from the bambo factory of her uncle who mistreats her since the death of her parents. carrying her barbie backpack full of hope and courage, she went into the city determined to move forward her life.
the next character is the stewardess lan (cat ly) who comes to the city to rest for a week, searching probably for her soulmate, for that someone who will complete the other half of her heart. she is the sparrow.
hai (le the hu) the zookeeper comes next on the list. hai spends most of his time alone in his house whenever he is not talking to the animals. his attachment to the resident elephant that will soon be sold by the zoo management forged his bond with thuy. he is the owl.
among all of these souls, the kid thuy possesses a keen sense of purpose and direction.
fairies clad in pastel colored gowns flying in glittery colorful wings are not present in this movie. instead, the street children and the other strangers met by thuy served as the fairies that guided her around the city and showed her the basics of survival. except for thuy’s uncle, the orphanage bully, the other guy of hai’s ex-flame, and the poker-faced policeman, you would think everybody else in the film is a fairy; each of them nice and kind in their own way.
the interweaving of the lives of thuy, lan and hai happened on the midnight when thuy met lan on a noodle stop in the city. since then, the relationship between thuy and lan as a family slowly developed and is highlighted by hai’s presence on their lives.
the tale of the owl and the sparrow presents issues of child labor and poverty in a subtle manner that is immediately overshadowed by the feel-good tone of the film.
although the constant camera shakes often make the eyes blink and seek refuge in the dark corners of the moviehouse, the warm color of the picture makes you feel welcomed in most of the scenes. also, the toned down and soft treatment of the colors of city life effectively highlighted the characters’ lives and emotions.
her tact and overly enthusiastic persona could put you off, but the strong, hopeful, and tough side of thuy is highly inspiring. being a child who survives in the jungle of the city all by herself, being able to defend herself whenever the situation calls for it, and being able to connect the lives of other people makes thuy a character to remember.
things happen in a slow, steady pace like a fairytale and before you know it, the film was concluded when thuy, lan and hai declared themselves a family.